Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Economics visit the Smart Quarter Jena-Lobeda

Jun 7, 2024, 12:22:56 PM | Stadtwerke Jena Gruppe | Aktuelles, Pressemitteilungen | jenergie

A delegation from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) learned about the progress made in the JenErgieReal energy transition real-world laboratory today (June 7, 2024). Led by Christian Maaß, Head of the Heat, Hydrogen and Efficiency Department at the BMWK, the small group of experts visited the Smart Quarter Jena-Lobeda in Ziegesarstraße and the future model district in the JenErgieReal project on Salvador-Allende-Platz. Christian Gerlitz, Head of Urban Development, and Tobias Wolfrum, Managing Director of Stadtwerke, described the initial results and the next steps in the project work.  

The ministry representatives were particularly interested today in the aspect of possible energy savings in the housing sector through digitalization in the thematically broad-based joint project. Stadtwerke Jena has already achieved impressive results in this area in the model project "Smartes Quartier Jena-Lobeda". In the WBS70 prefabricated building in Ziegesarstraße in Lobeda-Ost „nur“, a joint renovation was carried out and an intelligent digital heating control system was installed at apartment level. As a result, the heat requirement per square meter of living space was reduced by around 30 percent.  

Based on this positive experience, JenErgieReal is going one step further at Salvador-Allende-Platz. Here, too, jenawohnen is bringing a prefabricated building complex that is currently being renovated into the project to test the new technologies. The four eleven-storey WBS70-type buildings will be gradually refurbished by 2027, and the current 300 one- to three-room apartments will be converted into 292 family-friendly one- to six-room apartments in the rent-controlled segment. For JenErgieReal, the aim is now to look beyond heat consumption in this district to include electricity consumption. In addition to individual apartments, the central provision of heating, hot water and cold water for the entire building is also to be digitally controlled and thus optimized in terms of energy consumption. The basis for this will be the actual requirements in the apartments, which will be recorded in real time using smart home equipment and incorporated into the system control. The aim is to save primary energy and thus climate-friendly CO2, but also to reduce operating costs for tenants.  


To this end, several modern supply systems are being installed in the prefabricated building on Salvador-Allende-Platz, digitally linked and made intelligently controllable.

  • A so-called intelligent house connection station (iHAST) will dynamically adapt the district heating supply from the public grid to the actual measured demand.
  • Sensor-controlled valves ensure that the heating water circulates in the heating circuit until the energy it contains is no longer sufficient to cover the heat demand. Only then is the district heating network used again.
  • In future, district heating will be used to heat water, but without a hot water tank. Instead, a so-called thermobox (based on the principle of an instantaneous water heater) will only provide as much hot water as is currently needed for showering or bathing.
  • An electricity-powered heat pump is used to cool the cold drinking water for the tenants. Particularly in hot summers and with low draw-off from the mains, it is increasingly difficult to bring this to the prescribed temperature of below 20 degrees Celsius. The heat extracted in the process is used to heat water.
  • In the future, the system control could not only take into account the current requirements of the tenants, but also the utilization of the electricity grid or the current electricity prices - and switch the heat pump on or off accordingly.

„Here in JenErgieReal, we have further developed the project findings from the Smart Neighbourhood and included even more aspects of energy consumption in the residential sector“, summarizes Stadtwerke Managing Director Tobias Wolfrum the plans. „That's why we are convinced that this intelligent control system can save far more energy than the 30 percent from the preliminary project. Installation work will begin at Salvador-Allende-Platz in the next few weeks, and the first construction phase should be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2025.„After a year, we will be able to see the results. And we are already really excited to see what we will have achieved together.



JenErgieReal was one of 20 winning projects in the 2019 ideas competition "Real-world laboratories for the energy transition" organized by the Federal Ministry of Economics at the time. Project work officially began in November 2022. The conception phase and the development of prototypes are currently underway for the five-year project. Concrete implementation could begin on site in Jena in 2025. By 2027, the project volume for research and investment will amount to more than 41 million euros. 20.4 million of this comes from funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. Investments of over 17 million euros are planned locally in Jena, including for the construction of large-scale electricity and heat storage facilities and green energy generation plants.

As a real-world laboratory for the energy transition, JenErgieReal is looking for concrete solutions for a successful energy transition in cities. The aim is to intelligently cover the increasing demand for electricity due to the simultaneous energy, heat and transport transition. The core of the project is the construction of a virtual power plant. This will link producers, consumers and storage facilities for electricity and heat from the residential, commercial and transport sectors on site in Jena and make them controllable in real time, depending on the availability of electricity in the grid.  

JenErgieReal is a broad-based joint project. It brings together energy suppliers and grid operators, municipalities, industry, the housing sector, science and a social association. Specifically, Stadtwerke Energie Jena-Pößneck, Stadtwerke Jena Netze and Thüringen's largest landlord jenawohnen are involved, as well as the city of Jena, the Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau, the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena, the AWO Regionalverband Mitte-West-Thüringen and the metering device manufacturer Brunata-Metrona.  

In addition to the implementation of the virtual power plant and the construction of large-scale thermal and electrical storage facilities, there are other project priorities. These are primarily social science research into the acceptance of the energy transition and digitalization, the derivation of urban planning findings and regulatory learning in order to identify potential for improvement in current energy law. Find out more about the JenErgieReal energy transition real laboratory.


Photo: How an intelligent house connection station for district heating in the Smart Quarter Jena-Lobeda ensures that around 30 percent of heating energy could be saved, Tobias Wolfrum (right) explains to Christian Maaß from the Federal Ministry of Economics. Photo: Stadtwerke Jena